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 Post subject: Best sounding Victor?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 6:03 pm 
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Victor III
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I have a pretty large collection of classical 78's, mostly opera. I play them - why else would I be here? :D - on my old machines, the electrics on my Credenza, and the acoustics on one of my several Victors. But looking at the bewildering number of models that Victor produced leaves me wondering which one(s) have the best sound? is a larger horn necessarily better?

I'd be interested in your ideas - and who knows, I might even go on the look-out for yet another machine (5, going on 6). maybe the real issue is finding a flat space to put one on!

So, for your money, which pre-Orthophonic machine has the best sound?

Nat


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 Post subject: Re: Best sounding Victor?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 7:14 pm 
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Victor V
on instagram as "oncedeadsound"
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?

this has been debated and discussed a bit before... and I think the consensus was that with the pre-orthophonic machines, more specifically any victor machine with a straight horn, the sound won't be affected by much other than the horn size (of a properly sealed horn... bigger, the better) and the reproducer type (properly rebuilt... and you'd probably want a No. 2). beyond that, I think it's just aesthetic preference in terms of your choice of model.


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 Post subject: Re: Best sounding Victor?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 7:18 pm 
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Victor Monarch
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In my opinion, leaving rarity and looks aside, bigger is better. The larger Victrolas from around 1925 just before the Orthophonic era (XVI or larger) have substantial horns and large diameter tone arms. They were great machines, made obsolete overnight. The larger consoles are fine sounding and good value if you've got the floor space, my 405 has a larger horn opening than the uprights plus a spectacular case but because uprights are more popular than flat top consoles the prices are generally low.


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 Post subject: Re: Best sounding Victor?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 11:46 pm 
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Victor IV
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 8:44 pm
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Nat,

I know its a bit off the topic, but have you listened to any larger Brunswick Machines. Personally I find especially for classical things that the larger diameter Ultona Head brings out things that the Victors I had didn't. Not a lot but enough to make a difference. I also would tend to want the latter acoustics of any make due to the constant improvements they incorporated at they went along and the larger horns were a part of that. I don't feel the larger Victor reproducer however was an improvement over the #2, at least not the ones I have heard.


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 Post subject: Re: Best sounding Victor?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 7:10 am 
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Victor V
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Larry,

Are you talking about the #4 reproducer? The #4 wasand is an improvement over the #2. It was designed to play electrics on machines not able to be fitted with an ortho reproducer. Perhaps you haven't heard a properly rebuilt one, they sound fantastic. I prefer playing my acoustics from 1918-on with a #2 (rebuilt, of course) on one of my VV-130s, it will BLOW you out of the water. The #4 is a great choice for early electrics on any similar machine, really, to my ears anyway. Acoustics don't sound that much different using a #4 over a #2. I tend to play pre-1918 acoustics on my Schoolhouse using an Exhibition. It's really a matter of what sounds good to you, though.

As far as Brunswicks go, well, you know I love my Brunswick machine. It hasn't got the volume anywhere near any Victor machine, though. That's just fine when you're interested in a nice mellow sound, but when I'm out for making my ears bleed, it's Victor all the way!

My $.01 8-)

Sean


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 Post subject: Re: Best sounding Victor?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 8:59 am 
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Victor IV
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Hey Sean,

Well, "ears bleeding" was exactly what I found objectionable about the Victors I had. I just didn't find a buzzing effect in ones ears as a pleasant way to listen to music. Most vocalist who hit high or loud passages on Victors seemed to produce that unwanted effect, which on the Brunswick is not heard. Yes its a bit more subdued but to me it makes up for it in enlarged tone quality of the selections.

It may be that someday I will have to return to Victors for a good test of the differences. A old friend of mine was an early covert to the Brunswick but eventually went back to the Victor saying he had also found them to produce a better sound after all. He no longer is in contact so I couldn't hear what he was listening too, but I am sure each has its own advantages. I still recall that Victor often suggested a loud needle only when using the machine was in a situation where extra loud sound was needed, such as dancing with a crowd. They also made the suggestion that you listen from the next room if the machine was overwhelming to your ears, which obviously they knew they were.

One other thought. I was about to give in to the idea that a Brunswick was just to timid, but I often found that mine was much "too" loud for my ears when played with anything but a soft needle in the home setting.. At the moment I have it set up in very large basement where I do my walking and even in there a loud needle will produce sound louder than necessary. So I am not sure that the volume is really an issue?


Last edited by larryh on Tue Aug 25, 2009 9:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Best sounding Victor?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 9:00 am 
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Victor IV
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Location: Toronto, Ontario
When Victor inaugurated its Educational Department under Frances Elliot Clarke, they recommended a Victor V with an oak horn . This meant of course that they felt that it provided the best sound in the days before they introduced the Schoolhouse model which was essentially an oak horned Victor V with legs and a lid. Either one of these models with a well tuned soundbox and the tone arm joint well greased to cut down air leaks will give you about as nice a sound as you will hear from a pre-Orthophonic commercial machine. I'm tempted to say a soundbox tuned for fibre needles is the ultimate.
Next on the list comes the larger Brunswick Ultona machines, as has been mentioned. They had large wooden horns that were not badly designed...I think they cribbed their design from the Diamond Disc machines but be that as it may it worked very well.
The Brunswick have a mellow sound. Back in the day the English audiophiles in the twenties would have called that sound the result of a "romantic" soundbox whereas the crisper sound of the Victor was termed "realistic." The Gramophone Magazine had pages and pages of debate on this subject in issue after issue in the twenties. I don't think it was ever resolved...(you say "tomato" I say "tomahto", that sort of thing) The debate faded away as electrical reproduction won the day...or it entered a different form, shall we say.. ;)
Jim


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 Post subject: Re: Best sounding Victor?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 9:04 am 
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Victor IV
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Jim,

I think were still debating it today.. I am interested in your articles however, are any of those available anywhere on line that you are aware of?

Larry


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 Post subject: Re: Best sounding Victor?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 10:56 am 
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Victor V
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JRT,

You know I agree fully! ;)

Larry,

When I say "ears bleed", I do not mean harsh and blasty. I mean LOUD, full and brilliant, as Jim points out above. I'd never want that kind of sound out of any machine...then again, a properly tuned Victor reproducer isn't capable of being buzzy and blasty, trust me, I've done probably 200-300 Victor reproducer rebuilds over the last 25 years and none have ever come out sounding that way!

Sean


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 Post subject: Re: Best sounding Victor?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 11:15 am 
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Victor III
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All very interesting to me, though I gather it's an old topic... Thanks to everyone who replied.

So here's a secondary question:

I find that the acoustics sound dull in my Credenza - the sound gets lost in the horn and the bass. Which got me to wondering: how do acoustics sound on something like an HMV 130 - a "semi-ortho" with its much smaller, metal horn, or a VV 2-55 (I'm rebuilding one now)? Or does the orthophonic reproducer bring up extraneous noise?


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